Monday, September 26, 2011

Bhaje Caves

Type: Caves
Base village: Bhaje near Lonavala
Where: 85 Kms from Pune
Time visited: Sept 2011
Time to see around: 2-3 hours
How to reach: Take a exist towards Malavali on Old Pune-Mumbai highway, After railway crossing cross a fly over on express way to .reach Bhaje Village If you are travelling from expressway you would need to take Lonavala exit and immediately proceed towards Pune on Old Mumbai-Pune highway. Look for signs to Bhaje caves/Malavali exit.




This weekend finally I had a chance to visit Bhaje caves. Well had been to Lohagad and Visapur forts several times, but had always missed Bhaja Caves due to lack of time.

Bhaje Caves are a group of 29 rock-cut caves dating back to 200 BC near Lonavala, Maharashtra and is considered one of the oldest Buddhist centers in the Deccan.













There is ample parking at the base in Bhaje village. The same road takes you to historic duel forts- Lohagad & Visapur. In Rainy season there is a huge waterfall near the parking. A flight of steps (around 0.5 hrs climb) will take you to these caves.









The most impressive cave is right at the entrance, with open, horseshoe-arched entrance part.














There are upper levels caves with flight of small stairs on both sides of this cave.














There are some large and small empty halls with platforms on this floor probably for meditations.

The most remarkable feature of this cave are the wooden rafters that support the arched roof that have survived over 100 of years!  


















Notable part of the monument is a group of 14 stupas, five inside and nine outside in a cave.














In group of last caves one of them which has fine carvings. There is a room which could have been temple or something and has carvings on the outer wall. In the picture is the carving on the left hand side of the entrance to a room.
















Carvings on the right side of the door are as beautiful as on the left. There is a waterfall close to this cave which is active in mosoon.



















Various inscriptions can be seen in the caves.

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